318 pages, 32 plates with b/w photos and b/w illustrations
Antarctica, the last place on Earth, is not famous for its cuisine. Yet it is famous for stories of heroic expeditions in which hunger was the one spice everyone carried. At the dawn of Antarctic cuisine, cooks improvised under inconceivable hardships, castaways ate seal blubber and penguin breasts while fantasizing about illustrious feasts, and men seeking the South Pole stretched their rations to the breaking point. Today, Antarctica's kitchens still wait for provisions at the far end of the planet's longest supply chain. Scientific research stations serve up cafeteria fare that often offers more sustenance than style. Jason C. Anthony, a veteran of eight seasons in the U.S. Antarctic Program, offers a rare workaday look at the importance of food in Antarctic history and culture.
Anthony's tour of Antarctic cuisine takes us from hoosh (a porridge of meat, fat, and melted snow, often thickened with crushed biscuit) and the scurvy-ridden expeditions of Shackleton and Scott through the twentieth century to his own pre-planned three hundred meals (plus snacks) for a two-person camp in the Transantarctic Mountains. The stories in Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day, and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine are linked by the ingenuity, good humour, and indifference to gruel that make Anthony's tale as entertaining as it is enlightening.
"What ultimately ensures this unlikely book's appeal to a larger audience than armchair Antarctophiles and demented foodies is that Anthony is a fine, visceral writer and a witty observer. He paints his cast of questers with a Monty-Pythonesque brush, but balances the telling with a refusal to sneer or giggle. He demonstrates genuine respect, compassion and a kind of hopeless love for his quixotic subjects and their grandiose, miserable hungers."
– Rebecca P. Sinkler, New York Times Book Review
"[Hoosh is] a singular, engrossing take on a region that until now has been mostly documented from a scientific angle or romanticized by adventurers."
"Beyond his own experience, Anthony's knowledge and research is deep, detailing the role of food in historic expeditions both well known [...] and not, including Japanese and Scottish efforts that have rarely been noticed. He also reviews the mid-20th-century adventures of Byrd, Ellsworth, Ronne, and others. Viewing each expedition through the lens of food offers great insight into the people who were really the most important members of those groups: not the leaders whose names we know well, but the cooks, about whom the public knows next to nothing."
– Jeff Inglis, Portland Phoenix
"Historical writing, well presented, is supposed to be delicious, but in this brilliant, insightful book you will find many essential nutrients that tend to be missing from standard treatments of Antarctic exploration. This is a delightfully balanced reflection on human involvement in the Last Place on Earth, from earliest times to the modern day, presented with much gusto and the added sauce of firsthand experience."
– Ross MacPhee, curator of the American Museum of Natural History and author of Race to The End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole
"Some years ago a friend who worked on a nature program told me a tale of desperate penguin-killing (concluding with an ice pick) that left me with a fascination of how to feed yourself in the Antarctic. Jason Anthony's book has rekindled my appetite for Antarctic gastronomic thoughts."
– Fergus Henderson, chef and co-owner of St. John Restaurant (London) and author of The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating
"Anthony is an exemplary translator, imparting a collection of otherworldly experiences to the rest of us in precise and deft, but no less astonishing language and narrative technique. The concluding recipes, like so much of the book, carefully fuse the hilarious and the harrowing."
– Matthew Frank, author of Barolo
Chapter 1 - All Thinking and Talking of Food
Chapter 2 - The Secret Society of Unconventional Cooks
Chapter 3 - Slaughter and Scurvy
Chapter 4 - Meat and Melted Snow
Chapter 5 - How to Keep a Fat Explorer in Prime Condition
Chapter 6 - Into the Deep Freeze
Chapter 7 - Prisoner-of-War Syndrome
Chapter 8 - They Syrup of American Comfort
Chapter 9 - A Cookie and a Story
Chapter 10 - Sleeping with Vegetables
Chapter 11 - A Tale of Two Stations
Epilogue - Not under These Conditions
Appendix 1 - Recipes
Appendix 2 - Hoosh Timeline and Expedition Chronology
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Jason C. Anthony's essays have appeared in Orion, VQR, Alimentum, the Missouri Review, and in the Best American Travel Writing 2007.